Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Egypt – CXLIV. Proverbs (1 of 5)

Nonna Bida had a proverb for virtually all circumstances of life. They represented her philosophical view of the world, and they guided her through her daily life.

Not all proverbs here come from her; certainly, nonna Hélène was no slouch in that department; as well, I learned many proverbs from my mother, other members of the family, the neighbors, and the maid. Proverbs obtained from the common people were often “raw” and were not to be repeated (as is) in polite company.

What I have here are both proverbs and common expressions. Some of those expressions have a story behind them; and those tales will also be told.

Proverbs are presented as is if they are self-explanatory; or additional explanations are supplied. At times, where practical, the proverb is given first in Arabic, for those of you that speak that language.


1. If I am a prince, and you are a prince, who is going to drive the donkeys?

If we all want to occupy a high position in society, who is going to do the required difficult, and sometimes unpleasant (but necessary), work?

2. We kept quiet, he came in with his donkey.

This proverb urges us to be assertive, to speak up when we’re taken advantage off.

Picture yourself – in times gone by – having offered your hospitality to a travelling merchant. First he brings in bales of goods in your already small house, and you say nothing. Next, he informs you that it’s cold outside and he brings in his donkey!

3. We accepted misfortune, but misfortune spurned us.

You’re desperate for a job; you apply for a washroom attendant, but you’re advised that the position has already been filled! Scoring with the ladies happens only in your dreams; you ask an ugly, fat, and loud girl for a date, but she declines.

4. After me the sun will not rise.

I don’t care what happens to the world after I am gone.

This proverb is used in many cultures, and is expressed in many different ways. For instance, in French you have: Aprés moi le déluge (after I am gone a deluge can happen).

5. Where he crapped, there he was hanged!

Applies to a person that never picks up after himself. If he is undressing, his pants, shirt, socks, etc. will stay exactly where they dropped. Of course, on the following day, before going to work, he will look for his clothing in a big panic, and will be told the above proverb.

6. Humiliate your money and don’t humiliate yourself.

Go after the best only regardless of the cost; after all you deserve it. (Many a person is today staring at bankruptcy after following the philosophy expressed in this proverb!).

7. Blood doesn’t turn to water.

You look after your kin first. Equivalent to the English proverb: Blood is thicker than water.

8. Kaskeslou yerg’a le aslou. By going back, a person returns to his origins.

You can put all the airs you want, sooner or later how you were bred will come to light.

9. Teaching at a young age is like carving on stone; teaching at an old age is like writing on water.

10. He married the monkey for her money; the money is gone and he is left with the monkey!

This proverb was used in Egypt for a man that marries a less than lovely woman for her wealth. It can certainly be used in a Western context for the many women who marry an older man for his money; if he loses his money, she is either stuck with him, or if she divorces him, there probably isn’t much money to be had. Either way she had sold her youth for money, and it was all for naught.

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